Rural Howard & Montgomery Counties

I originally wasn’t going to write about our trip today to Western Regional Park in Howard County, Maryland, and the Brighton Dam Azalea Garden in Montgomery County. While nice places to take a walk, we didn’t see too much and the azaleas were already gone. However, we saw our first ever male Baltimore Oriole! So definitely worth writing about!

Western Regional Park

We started out in the late morning at Western Regional Park in Woodbine, Maryland. This park has a number of ball fields as well as a forested area with trails. Its a bit of a messy forest in that there is just a wide variety of plants everywhere. Not really easy to photograph and we didn’t really try.

We were on the lookout for any birds, however, they are incredibly hard to find in a dark forest with tall canopy. We heard various birds, particularly woodpeckers, as well as other sounds that we had no idea about.

The only bird we really got a good look at was this Red-Bellied Woodpecker, a common species here. We never really noticed just how short their tails appear from behind until now though!

This particular section of forest had many ferns on the ground. It looked visually appealing so I snapped a few photographs. There was actually a little spider in the scene that I didn’t notice until after the fact. I’m not a fan of spiders so it got cropped out!

This yellow butterfly conveniently landed on a leaf out in the open and stayed perfectly still! Such a cooperative subject! We don’t really know anything about butterflies other than the existence of Monarch Butterflies. But this is something else. Luckily, Googling the phrase “yellow butterfly with blue and red on tail” worked extremely well! It is a Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly! Quite pretty and interesting cloth-like texture visible on the tail end.

Brighton Dam Azaela Garden

On the border of Montgomery County and Howard County lies the Brighton Dam which creates the Triadelphia Reservoir. There is an azalea garden on five acres of land right next to the dam. Unfortunately, azaela season has apparently passed. So while it was a rather nice forest, the floral highlight was not to be seen.

We did hear many birds though and saw a few, particularly Northern Cardinals that were flying about. We also heard what sounded like Gray Catbirds. They are a gray colored mimic species that can be harder to find than a bright red bird!

At one point, we thought we heard a Gray Catbird singing loudly above us. We were actually able to find the bird and to our surprise it was a Brown Thrasher! This mimic species is present where we live but is a bit rare. It sang loudly above us for many minutes!

We were on our way out of the azalea garden, almost to the entrance, when a orange bird zoomed by! Our first ever male Baltimore Oriole! We’ve been trying to find a male ever since we first spotted a female two years ago. We didn’t see this guy for long. He flew into dense foliage before popping out for a bit. And then ultimately flying away. We tried to follow but he was impossible to find. At least we finally saw one! Quite an attractive and unique looking bird with its bold orange and black colors!

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